Romans 8:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 8:15, NIV: The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'

Romans 8:15, ESV: For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15, KJV: For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:15, NASB: For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons and daughters by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'

Romans 8:15, NLT: So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, 'Abba, Father.'

Romans 8:15, CSB: For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father! "

What does Romans 8:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Romans 8:15 is one of Scripture's most beautiful verses about our relationship with God through faith in Christ. It describes how God has changed every Christian's relationship with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the previous verse, Paul wrote that all who are led by the Spirit of God are His children. Now he gets more specific. Earlier in this letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that through faith in Christ we are freed from slavery to sin and that we become "slaves to righteousness" (Romans 6:18) or "slaves to God" (Romans 6:22). Paul is not backing away from that in this verse. The word used for slaves—doulos—describes what was once known as indentured service: when a person swore their allegiance to remain in the service of a specific master.

Here, though, Paul assures us that God does not view us as His slaves or even just good servants. He did not free us from slavery to sin simply to add us to His team. He rescued us from sin to make us His children. That involves the Holy Spirit.

God did not give us the spirit of slavery, by giving us the Holy Spirit. Abused slaves often live in fear of their masters, and that is not the relationship God wants from us. No, Paul insists, God gave us the Spirit of adoption as his children. In other words, God legally changed the status of those who come to Him by faith in Christ to sons and daughters.

This is not a distant or strained parent/child relationship, either. This Spirit of adoption, another name for the Holy Spirit, allows us to cry out to God as little children call out to a loving daddy. The word Abba is a Greek and English adaptation of the Aramaic word for father. It was often the word used by young children for "papa" or "daddy." That's the relationship God wants with us, and He has made it possible through the Spirit.